53 X $4,500,000=$2,385,000,000
$4.5 million is the price of one U.S. Air Force Predator.
U.S.A. Today reports that "The Air Force has lost about 40% of its Predator unmanned aircraft and lacks enough trained crews to meet the demand for battlefield surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military officials and analysts. Of the 139 Predators delivered to the Air Force, 53 have been lost. Iraq's extreme heat is damaging Predators, according to Air Force budget documents.
'A more capable aircraft air condioner is required,' the documents say.'
(USA Today/March 29, 2007)
This report also gives a pie chart that breaks down the causes of the 53 "lost" Predators:
Mechanical computer failure: 34%
Pilot error: 30.2%
Combat actions: 26.4%
[Source: Air Force]
Advice to the Pentagon:
Get better air conditioners for these Predators.
Improve the training of the pilots.
GET OUT OF IRAQ!
USE THE EXPENSIVE PREDATORS TO PROTECT AMERICA AND HER BORDERS!
Over the last year many Americans have finally realized how thoroughly they were sold a bill of goods. The picture of the peaceable kingdom painted by the Bush administration nearly four years ago was that of a country, riven by religious and ethnic violence for centuries, suddenly turned into the equivalent of a Connecticut suburb: town meetings, friendly neighbors, a common purpose, perhaps a shopping mall.
Nearly four years of photographs and footage of dusty corpses, cinderblock barriers, shredded cars and bereaved families, and the absurdity of that view is absolute.
No one tries to sell that snake oil anymore. Now the party line is that American forces will get out, but they cannot get out now. They cannot get out now because Iraq would become a place of civil war, of untrammeled violence, of complete chaos.
Iraq has been a place of civil war, untrammeled violence, complete chaos for a long time now. American intervention has not made that better. It has made it worse.
Get out now. Provide plenty of consultants to organize police forces and help with reconstruction. Persuade the Iraqi government, such as it is, to ask for peacekeeping assistance from other nations. Put the arm on allies in the Middle East to participate for the sake of stability in the region. Recognize that much of this is about access to oil, and negotiate accordingly while trying to persuade Americans to go to rehab for their fossil-fuel addiction.
By Anna Quindlen